Video: Houthi leader exploits coronavirus fears to recruit new members

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A video has surfaced online of a man, described as a Yemeni Houthi leader, exploiting coronavirus fears to recruit people to join and fight for the Iran-backed Houthi militia in the ongoing war in Yemen.

The Houthi militia is backed by Iran and fighting against the UN-recognized government for control of Yemen. The country currently has no reported cases of coronavirus, but in a video broadcast on one of the Houthis’ Yemeni television channels, an unidentified man appears to play on fear of dying from coronavirus as a recruitment tool.

“Instead of dying like a donkey, under the mercy of corona[virus]. In the end you suffocate and die. Isn’t it better to die on the battlefield?” says the man.

He also said the frontline of the war is the safest place to be because people are not mixing, referring to the need of social distancing to slow the spread of the deadly virus.

“We will make you a martyr, or do you want to die like a sheep in your home? We’re making things easier for you,” he added. “Without any illness, and with God, a martyr with my God.”

The WHO has voiced concern over the likelihood of an “explosion” of cases in Yemen, which is poorly prepared to cope with an outbreak after years of war.

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